Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Meet Melissa Keir, Author and Editor.


Melissa Keir
Today I am introducing to you a writer I met recently--on all places Facebook. I am beginning to find that writing is indeed a small world. I wanted to introduce her to everyone and hope you find her as delightful as I do!

Thank you for having me visit with you and your readers today. I’m so glad that I get to share my books with you.  They all have a special place in my heart, not unlike children. I understand that completely. Our books become family.
Since I am a curious sort, I have a few questions to ask:
Tell us about yourself--where do you live, kids? Day job?My life is a lot like the Brady Bunch.  We are a blended family with four children (two his and two mine) and two dogs. Unfortunately there isn’t an Alice in sight so I’m stuck doing all the cleaning and cooking!  At least I won’t be putting too much laundry detergent in the washing machine. J  Too funny!
We live in Michigan so we get to experience the beautiful four seasons and the construction season.  Michigan roads are always being worked on.  Many of the side roads are dirt roads.  Today the UPS man told me that we have a lake in our road because of the rain and a deep drop off in the road.  But it is one of the things you get used to here.  I used to live in Minnesota, so I completely understand. I do not miss the sub-zero winters at all.
I don’t believe in downtime.  I am a full-time elementary school teacher who teaches children to love reading and writing as well as an editor, published author and book reviewer.  I believe that you should never stop learning which is why I always remind my students that someday I will be that racecar driver, I’ve always dreamed of being! Ah, I like that you strive to do things--and experience life, that is important. I wish I had your energy.  :)
What genre do you write? Why?My books are currently contemporary romance.  I like writing about people who could be my best friend or my next door neighbor.  I would eventually like to branch out into different genres like paranormal but with my favorite authors being there (Laurell K. Hamilton, Jeaniene Frost, Sherrilyn Kenyon), it is easier for me to not try to copy them but be myself.  I understand that. I wish I could write contemporary--I always have to throw in something strange in my stories...LOL. But I admire those who can.
Do you have an agent--why or why not? (I am seeing many people ask that question and I know the road to publication is different for everyone.) I don’t have an agent.  I think my story is one of luck.  I was working with a publishing house as an editor part time when the owner suggested that I write my own novel.  She read it and offered me a contract.  Yep, it was that easy.  But the publishing house went under.  The owner was having some medical family issues and had to close.  My heart was broken but I didn’t give up.  I ended up submitting my story to other publishers and they loved it.  I’ve kept writing since then and have found many wonderful publishers who are excited about my stories.  That is wonderful--success sometimes is by chance and tenacity. I really think its neat that you are an editor--I bet that helps with your writing (I am not very good at editing...lol)
All of my publishers are small independent publishing companies and I haven’t really thought about getting an agent yet because my profits are not there for my books yet. Eventually I would love to break into the big publishing houses and an agent would be helpful but for now, I’m doing what I love. I think that is the most important thing--you are writing and you love it. Bravo!
Speaking of, can you tell us a bit about your current book?
Protecting His Wolfe:
A lovely cover!
Betsie Wolfe was a small town girl who left her cozy little life for a job in the big city. She never expected to become a witness to a murder or face vicious threats. Detective Jonah Pigg was immediately attracted to Betsie’s lavender eyes and small frame huddled in the gray wool blanket when he arrived on the scene of the murder.
When threats on Betsie's life surface, Jonah takes her into his home under the protection of the three Pigg’s who own the Pigg Agency. It will take all of his detective work to keep her safe. Passion has a way of igniting when people are in stressful situations and lust leads Betsie and Jonah into each other’s arms. But is their relationship only a matter of desire or is it something more?
EXCERPT:
Finally fed up with the tension, she left her desk, shut down the lights in the office, and locked the door. With her small clutch purse in one hand, she started the lonely walk to her apartment, six blocks over from the employee parking garage. Someday, I’ll have enough money for a car of my own. She thought with envy. Maybe something in a green color but with good gas mileage.
So focused on the noises around her, Betsie tripped over a patch of broken concrete and went sprawling on the floor, her purse hit the concrete and one lipstick tube rolled across the garage floor. Crawling on her hands and knees, Betsie yelled at herself in her head for her accident. Oh no. Isn’t that my luck! Everything has gone wrong today! Where is my purse? What fell out?
Suddenly a car appeared around the back of the garage and screeches to a halt. The sounds of yelling and gunfire erupted in the silence of the parking garage. Diving flat on the ground, Betsie begins to say all the prayers she remembered from the past twenty-three years of Catholic Mass. As a body crashed to the ground, the black sports car with the silver trim drove away.
Betsie hid on the ground near the edge of a large blue sedan, praying no one could hear her. The silence after such a deafening noise grated on Betsie’s nerves. Without thought for herself, she rushed over to the body to see if they needed help.
“Oh, my, gosh, it’s Johnny from the warehouse. Johnny, Johnny, are you okay?” She placed her hands on his chest to see if he was still breathing, only to pull away abruptly when she felt the wetness of his shirt.
Looking down at her hands, “Oh no. Blood! Johnny!” But his death was as evident as the large hole in the front of his shirt gushing blood on the pavement.
“I can’t be caught here.” Betsie realized with the dead body beside her that the garage wasn’t a safe place.
After a long argument with her conscience over what was right and what might happen, Betsie found her purse with the office keys inside and went back into the office to call the police.

What is the hardest thing for you to write? What is the easiest?I think that the hardest thing for me to write is the sex scenes.  I want them to be realistic and romantic but sometimes I struggle with how to do that and when enough is enough. I love writing about the worlds and the characters.  Those are my easiest things to write about. Ah, I understand that about the sex scenes. Not the easiest at all--and I'm with you world building is one of my favorite things to do.
What genres do you read? or do you stick to the genre you write?I love to read just about any genre.  I’ve read everything from historical to futuristic, from erotica to inspirational.  But currently my favorite genre is the paranormal romance.  I love stories that feature strong characters and werewolves, shape shifters, witches, demons, angels, or vampires.  I love the idea that there is more out there in the world than we know. So do I. I adore reading that genre as well, because rules can change or there are no rules. I like that.
Do you have a favorite show or movie that inspires you?  I don’t have any movie or show that inspires me.  I love to watch movies but with the cost, we don’t go out much. I also don’t watch a lot of television.  Hawaii 50 is my new favorite show, along with the Big Bang Theory.  Hmm, I've watched bits of Hawaii 5-0, I particularly like the actors.... and Big Bang Theory--one show that does make me laugh. :)
Now the fun questions---coffee or tea?(I always ask that) I’m a once in a great while coffee drinker. It has to be that mocha coffee that has so much steamed milk and whipped cream in it that it doesn’t really taste like coffee.  Borders used to have a white chocolate raspberry kiss that was to die for.  I miss their coffee drink almost more than I miss their books!  But if you gave me a choice of anything that I wanted to drink, I am a soda drinker and I will chose that for breakfast even.  Although I’ve cut down to only one soda a day now.  J  That Chocolate Raspberry Kiss  coffee sounds divine for a cold day!
I appreciate your coming on today, it's been a pleasure, Melissa. :)
Thank you for having me on your blog MV.  I hope that your readers will check out my website and blog at www.melissakeir.com.  I have some wonderful upcoming contests and information that they won’t want to miss out on!
Author Bio: Melissa Keir has always wanted to be an author when she wasn’t hoping for a career as a race car driver.  Her love of books was instilled by her mother and grandparents who were avid readers. She’d often sneak books away from them so that she could fantasize about those strong alpha males and plucky heroines.  In middle school and high school, Melissa used to write sappy love poems and shared them with her friends and still has those poems today! In college her writing changed to sarcastic musings on life as well as poems with a modern twist on fairy tales and won awards for her writing. You can find many of these musings along with her latest releases on her website and blog.  
Melissa doesn’t believe in down time.  She’s always keeping busy.  Melissa is a wife and mother, an elementary school teacher, a book reviewer, an editor for a publishing company as well as an author. Her home blends two families and is a lot like the Brady Bunch, without Alice- a large grocery bill, tons of dirty dishes and a mound of laundry. She loves to write stories that feature happy endings and is often seen plotting her next story.

10 comments:

Heather said...

Great interview! Thanks Melissa for dropping by our chapter blog, and thank you Mary for introducing her to us!

I have a question for Melissa - seeing as you and Mary met through Facebook, what are your thoughts on the utility of social media for authors, and what outlets have you found to be the most useful/effective?

Melissa Keir said...

Hi Heather,
That is a great question. I know that there is a balance that must be a part of effective social media. I've met so many other authors but also wonderful readers and other editors through Facebook and Twitter. I'm sure that many people will share with you horror stories of authors who are all about promoting themselves. If that is all you are doing on social media, you are pushing readers and other authors (who are also readers) away. I follow the belief that we should always help others so most of my blog posts are about other authors or likes and replies to other posts.

We must use social media. It has started revolutions and overthrown governments but it is also a place for connections, friendships and help. The most effective outlets have been the more social groups that do more than just promote. I love to learn from others and when I can be in a group that talks about the nitty gritty of writing or even the different things going on in their lives, I find those to be the best groups. Groups that only promote get boring and no one really is reading all those promotions.

Thanks again for that question Heather! Thank you for having me here and Mary, thank you for the wonderful interview!

Melissa Keir

M.V.Freeman said...

I agree with you Melissa--it is a fine balance. ;)

And my two cents is--we must not forget that we are readers as well--what do we like? That is what I ask myself. (Me, I *adore* learning about authors, their journeys, and the stories they write)

And I love social media-because I am meeting people I'd never have a chance otherwise.

That, and I'm just one of those curious sorts...;)

Lexi said...

Welcome, Melissa! It's always great to meet other writers and hear their stories. I work full time and write, too, so I know something about that madness. I have trouble with those dratted sex scenes, too. ;-) Are you a linear writer, pushing through from start to finish, or do you write scenes as they come to you and then piece them together?

Melissa Keir said...

MV,
I'm still a reader and fan so when I get to meet other authors, I'm a nerdy fan. I gush and have wish lists of my favorite authors and their upcoming releases. I hope that I'm that kind of author someday, where people want to read my stories and enjoy hearing about my life. After all, we all face similar issues.

Melissa

Melissa Keir said...

Lexi,
It's nice to meet you. Thanks for stopping by and checking out my interview. I am a linear writer. I start with the big idea (beginning, middle and end) than start at the beginning and work my way to the end. I spend a lot of time rewriting and editing. I go back and add/delete things, always working to make it better and clearer. Sometimes I spend a lot of time on revision. I love that there are so many ways for writers to get to the same outcome. Each of us must find the way that works for us.

Melissa

Lexi said...

I'm a linear writer, too! Sometimes it's frustrating, because I can't move forward until I finish what I'm working on, and I'm an inveterate tweaker!

Melissa Keir said...

Lexi,
I've started working on two different books at a time so that I can go back and forth when I get frustrated and can't go father on the one. What do you do when you get stuck?

Melissa

Lexi said...

Two books at one time???? I would lose my mind. When I get stuck, it's usually because I've gone in the wrong direction or something about the scene/chapter is bothering me, like maybe a character is not behaving like they ought. I mull it over for a few days and the answer usually comes to me.

Melissa Keir said...

Lexi,
I also escape to a good book when I am stuck. If I read a book by one of my favorite authors, then I can usually get myself unstuck and back on track. :) It's like the book moves the muse!